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CDC: West Virginia agency was untrained for chem spill

CHARLESTON (AP) — A federal report says West Virginia public health officials weren’t trained to respond to a January chemical spill along the Elk River.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the state Bureau for Public Health had no epidemiologists trained specifically to deal with chemical or natural disasters. Instead, those who focus on infectious diseases led the bureau’s response to the spill Jan. 9 spill at Freedom Industries.

The spill contaminated 300,000 people’s tap water for days.

The report says the bureau’s epidemiologists received training to chemical exposure assessment in late March.

The report says an epidemiologist who is focused in this area could rapidly coordinate a response in the event of an environmental disaster.

State epidemiologist Dr. Loretta Haddy said Tuesday the bureau is reviewing the report.

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